Canberra pulls out all stops to hold ladder leaders to a draw
Perth 3 Canberra 3
Canberra United's Caitlin Cooper gets mobbed by teammates after scoring the equaliser in the 3-3 draw with Perth. Photo: Getty Images
A CAITLIN COOPER thunderbolt saved Canberra United's blushes, giving the visitors a 3-3 draw against top side Perth Glory in Perth on Saturday.
A defensive mix-up early in the second half had put the reigning champions behind but Cooper's blast ensured United remained in the finals race.
The team stays in fourth place, one point ahead of Sydney FC, which plays bottom-placed Newcastle on Sunday.
After the opening exchanges, United took control of the game and was deserved leader after 24 minutes when Nikki Washington, in her last game for Canberra, rolled the ball past Glory keeper Maja Blasch.
But Perth worked its way back into the game and, in the space of a minute, had the lead.
First Aivi Luik and then Elizabeth Milne scored to give the Glory an unexpected advantage with 10 minutes left in the half.
United was back level, with Washington again involved, her chip coming off the crossbar and falling for Hayley Raso to tap home to make it 2-all in the shadows of half-time.
Not long after the break, a terrible mix-up between United skipper and centre-half Ellie Brush and keeper Mackenzie Arnold allowed Elisa D'Ovidio to put Perth back in front.
Then United defender Cooper unleashed an unstoppable thunderbolt from 30 metres out to again level the score with 20 minutes remaining.
Both teams pressed for the winner and Luik hit the crossbar with Arnold beaten in the dying minutes but it remained a lively stalemate.
AT A GLANCE
PERTH GLORY 3 (Aivi Luik 34m, Elizabeth Milne 35m, Elisa D'Ovidio 49m) drew CANBERRA UNITED 3 (Nikki Washington 24m, Hayley Raso 44m, Caitlin Cooper 70m) at Intiga Stadium.